- The top footballers in global leagues are very well paid
- They earn wages for playing as well as money from endorsement deals
- Wealthy club owners have also contributed to the rise in earnings
In the last decade we have experienced escalating payouts from domestic and international television agreements, kit deals, sponsors and the Champions League.
There has also been an influx of wealthy ownership groups that has resulted in surging soccer wages around the world.
While footballers make astonishing sums of money from their wages they also make a huge amount from endorsements they get from patronising brands on television and social media.
Briefly.co.za has put together this list of the seven top earning footballers of 2017:
7. James Rodriguez- $7m (Brands and Sponsors: Adidas, Pepsi, Huawei and Hugo Boss):
Former Real Madrid attacker, James Rodriguez, finds himself on our list as he continues to make a lot of money every day, thanks to his deal with new club (Bayern Munich), sponsors, and brands.
Rodriguez joined Bayern Munich on a 2-year loan deal last summer and he earns $7m annually on endorsements alone.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic- $7m annually (Brands and Sponsors: Adidas and Volvo):
Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions in his first season at Manchester United. He might be tagged controversial in so many ways but the most important thing is that he is making a lot of money while at it.
This year, he will earn $7m from brands and sponsors he endorses, plus the new deal he signed at Old Trafford after his comeback only makes it better for him.
5. Sergio Aguero- $7.5m annually (Brands and Sponsors: EA Sports, PepsiCo, and Puma):
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is the only Premier League player on the list with a total earning of $7.5m annually.
This huge amount comes only from brands and sponsor endorsements without adding his wages.
4. Gareth Bale- $11m annually (Brands and Sponsors: Adidas, Konami, EA Sports, Foot Locker and Sony):
The Welsh star attacker signed a long-term deal with Real Madrid in October 2016 that will keep him in Santiago Bernabeu for the next six years.
He earns £300k weekly as wage until 2022. He is also set to pocket $11m annually from brands and sponsors this year.
Bale’s future at Los Blancos is however in doubt after a difficult season with injury problems.
3. Neymar- $23m annually (Brands and Sponsors: Unilever, Konami, Nike, Red Bull, Volkswagen, Gillette, and Panasonic):
Paris Saint-Germain star forward, Neymar, can be said to be shining brighter every year.
At a rather young age of 25, he is earning far more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when they were the same age.
He has more years to play and this means he will earn even more in the coming years, the switch to PSG really improved his earnings.
2. Lionel Messi-$28m annually (Brands and Sponsors include: Adidas, EA Sports, Tata, Gatorade and Gillette):
Argentinian captain, Lionel Messi, is at the number 2 spot of our list as his weekly salary has gone up after he signed the new deal to stay at Barcelona.
In terms of wages, Messi is the highest paid footballer in the World today. Thanks to his new deal at Barcelona, Messi now earns more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
However, when it comes to endorsements, the Argentine falls behind the Portuguese striker by $4m, maybe because he is not on Twitter yet.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo- $32m annually (Brands and Sponsors include CR7, Nike, Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Monster Headphones and Sacoor Brothers):
Portugal captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, earns a weekly salary of £288,000 after tax. He also earns $32m annually via endorsements.
He is the most followed athlete on social media. He is set to earn more after helping his club retain the UEFA Champions League trophy. The striker also lifted his fifth Ballon d’Or award last week to go level with Lionel Messi. This achievement is sure to attract more deals in the future.
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